Friday, September 18, 2009

H1, NE1?

Jeju Island is known as Korea’s Hawaii. That sounds rather like being Alaska’s California or Denver’s San Diego, but it is supposed to be quite lovely. I’ve been hoping to go there ever since my first week over here, when Heeduk told me his father sometimes closes LIKE School and takes the faculty there for a vacation. He didn’t in my year at LIKE. Some of my friends who worked at the Samduk location got free trips there, but neither I nor anyone else at the Manchon school did.

…so you can imagine my anticipation on my first day at SPPA, when I found out that on the last couple of days of this month we’d be closing the school and everyone, faculty, kids, and all, would have a three-day trip to Jeju.

…only of course we’re not. Mr. Park, the boss, has canceled it over fears of H1N1. I don’t understand how an airplane trip and a little time on a semitropical island would be more dangerous than staying in a metro area of over 20 million people. But many Koreans have a lot of irrational fears of lethal menaces: American beef! Sleeping in a closed room with a fan running! The number four!

So our three-day trip to Jeju has become two days of classes and a day trip to a nearby island for a sports day; the island doesn’t allow its visitors to bring any balls (wouldn't want to bruise the trees, I guess), so we’re going to have a lot of Frisbee games and three-legged races and such.

That's a poor substitute, but at least I can sit at home at night, drinking my E-Mart Jeju mandarin orange juice and wiping my tears on my cat.

He’s soft and silky.

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